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Policies

Please select from the following:

1.  Safe and Supportive Environment Policy
2.  Student Code of Behaviour
3.  Uniform Requirements
4.  Privacy Policy

SAFE AND SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT POLICY  

Rationale
Meriden is committed to providing, within a Christian community, a secure and caring, quality education that values and encourages spiritual, intellectual, creative and physical growth in each individual.

At Meriden we work together to create a learning environment where all students and staff feel safe, supported, respected and valued. It is the responsibility of all members of the school community to ensure the safety and protection of one another.  No form of bullying or harassment will be tolerated.

Meriden is aware of its legal obligations to protect students and staff according to international conventions and Commonwealth and State legislative requirements. Furthermore, as an Anglican school, we have a primary obligation from biblical teachings whereby each human person is valued by God and the given commandments to love and care for one another.

This policy is supported by pastoral and academic programs which focus on conflict resolution, individual choices, promoting self esteem, healthy relationships, and an understanding of the characteristics and behaviours that constitute bullying as well as an explanation of causes and consequences.

We believe the key to encouraging a safe and supportive school environment lies less in legal remedies or disciplinary action than in the school creating a positive culture, a culture which enhances self-worth and builds caring relationships.

Some examples of ways in which Meriden creates a protective and respectful culture through the curricular and co-curricular programs are:
• Peer Support and Bounce Back programs
• the House system
• 'buddy’ relationships for new girls
• training Student Leadership Teams
• chapel programs
• teaching Christian Studies
• camps and retreats

Staff aim to develop positive relationships with students.  Students are supervised in the playground and staff adopt effective teaching and classroom management.

The learning environment we seek to provide is one that is safe, supportive, inclusive and respectful of individual differences.  The academic endeavours of Meriden cater for a wide range of interests and talent in girls.

Bullying is not tolerated at Meriden
We define bullying behaviour as repeated and deliberate harassment, intimidation or abuse that can be verbal, social, psychological, emotional or physical.

Bullying is unfair and one-sided.  Typically it occurs when a person or group of persons, repeatedly and deliberately tries to harm, harass, humiliate or distress another person.  It occurs when someone keeps hurting, frightening, threatening, or leaving someone out on purpose.

Bullying exists in a number of ways, including:
• Verbal - Teasing, name-calling, offensive language, unwelcome comments, intrusive questions, ‘nuisance’ or abusive phone calls, emails, MSN or text messages, spreading malicious gossip verbally or electronically.
• Physical - Fighting, pushing, hitting, offensive gestures, invasion of personal space.
• Social/Emotional - Standover tactics, extortion, threats, damage or disregard of property or possessions, repeated exclusion.

Staff at Meriden will seek to maintain a safe and supportive environment by:
• Supervising students in the playground and in all areas of the school
• Watching for signs of bullying and dealing with incidences appropriately, as outlined below
• Responding quickly and sensitively to bullying reports and following up reported bullying incidents
• Taking parents’ concerns about bullying seriously
• Being a role model in word and actions at all times
• Assigning consequences for bullying as outlined below

Students at Meriden should maintain a safe and supportive environment by:
• Treating others respectfully
• Refusing to bully others
• Refusing to let others be bullied
• Refusing to watch, laugh or join in when someone is being bullied
• Trying to include everyone, especially those who are often left out
• Reporting bullying to an adult

Parents/Guardians
Parents will be made fully aware of the school’s policy regarding a safe and supportive environment.  When appropriate, the parents of all parties will be informed.

Parents can assist the school by:
• Taking an active interest in their daughter’s life
• Being alert to any changes in their daughter’s behaviour or academic performance
• Listening without judgment in the first instance
• Encouraging their daughter to talk to a teacher
• Encouraging their daughter to be a proactive bystander by expressing disapproval of bullying behaviour and seeking help
• Attending information sessions organised by Meriden and reading  school newsletters
• Contacting the Class teacher, Tutor, Year Coordinator, School Counsellor, Dean of Students, Head of Junior School or Head of Senior School with information about any incident that may involve bullying behaviours

Processes and Procedures
Responses to incidents of bullying and/or harassment will be tailored to suit the situation according to severity, frequency and duration. A positive approach, which seeks to bring about change in the behaviour and thinking of student/s who are bullying, will be used wherever possible.  However, disciplinary sanctions may also be required.  At all times discretionary judgement will be applied according to the age of the students involved.  Any situations reported will be thoroughly investigated, treated with discretion and appropriately acted upon.

The aim at all times is to create a situation where all parties can co-exist peacefully in the school in an environment of care and safety.

Prevention
• We encourage and maintain a climate of respect at all times
• School leadership and management reflect practices that contribute to building a safe and supportive learning environment for all students
• The school curriculum develops life skills to nurture personal development in an inclusive and equitable manner
• The school’s Discipline Policy is implemented in a consistent manner
• We strive for a common understanding of acceptable classroom behaviour
• Expectations for behaviour outside the classroom are communicated and practised by all members of the school community

Managing an Incident
The School’s Safe and Supportive Environment Policy promotes resolution rather than punishment.  Staff members are committed to a common response to bullying when incidents occur, using procedures outlined below:
• A staff member who witnesses a bullying incident should respond to the students involved immediately, indicating that the behaviour witnessed is unacceptable and contrary to expectations at Meriden
• A staff member who is informed of, or witnesses, a bullying incident should report the incident to the relevant Head of School

While the school will provide support for the offender, Meriden’s first priority is to support those targeted and protect them from further bullying.

Following the investigation, if bullying/harassment is found to have occurred, the following range of strategies may be implemented, depending on the severity of the incident:
• Discussion with student/s in order to bring about a positive reconciliation of the parties.  Mediation may be required.
• Opportunities created for students to discuss and explore possible solutions that may resolve the issue and repair the harm done
• Counselling of those targeted
• Counselling of others involved (eg witnesses) if necessary
• Counselling of the offender to help her to understand the implications of her actions and the likely consequences if the behaviour continues
• Discussion with relevant parents
• Isolation from peers
• Detention/s
• Removal of privileges
• Professional assistance from experts within the school or from outside the school (eg conflict resolution, anger management)
• Suspension
• Expulsion

All actions are based on the principles of procedural fairness.

Throughout the investigation and subsequent actions, care will be taken to maintain confidentiality as far as possible.

Policy Review
The issue of maintaining a safe and supportive school environment will remain a high priority for all at the school. The Policy will be reviewed regularly and amended if necessary to ensure that Meriden has effective management of bullying behaviours and is actively promoting a safe and supportive environment.

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STUDENT CODE OF BEHAVIOUR

The students of Meriden are expected to uphold the traditions and expectations of the school.  The Code of Behaviour is designed to promote a high standard of conduct in each girl and to ensure the safety of all and the efficient running of the school.  The school prohibits corporal punishment by non-school persons, including parents, to enforce discipline at the school.

Code of Behaviour
Our expectations are based on the following principles.  Girls should:
• Be able to learn in a safe and secure environment
• Treat personal possessions and school property with care and respect
• Take pride in Meriden and uphold its values in the wider community
• Support the school’s Christian ethos

To enable all students to learn in a safe and secure environment, girls should note the following:
• Harassment in any form is unacceptable.
• Personal safety and the safety of others are of paramount importance.
• Consideration of others should be shown when waiting in queues, moving in crowded corridors and travelling on public transport.
• Good manners and courteous language are to be used at all times.
• Movement around school corridors should be calm and sensible, keeping to the left in corridors and on stairways.
• Possession or use of cigarettes, alcohol or non-prescribed drugs is prohibited whilst at school, travelling to or from school, or on any school-related occasion.
• No medicines should be brought to school unless the Head of Junior School or Head of Senior School has been notified in writing.  Where it is necessary, only the amount required for the day should be brought to the School Office where it can be kept and administered under supervision.  At no time should a girl be in possession of, or use, another girl’s medication.
• Travel with a student who is a licensed driver is permitted only when the girls involved are siblings and when written parental consent is provided to the Year Coordinator.

Personal possessions and school property must be treated with respect
This includes:
• No littering, graffiti or other form of vandalism
• No eating in buildings, except in designated rooms on wet days
• Ensuring personal possessions are clearly named and secured in lockers when not in use
• Demonstrating a commitment to Meriden’s physical environment by maintaining classrooms and grounds in a tidy and orderly state
• No unauthorized borrowing of personal or school property

Girls should take pride in Meriden and uphold the school’s values in the wider community
Meriden students are expected to:
• Be well-groomed and wear the uniform correctly at all times
• Represent the school at all times with pride
• Show consideration of others within the school and in public
• Be courteous and well-mannered at all times
• Take pride in, and responsibility for, Meriden’s appearance and image

To uphold Meriden’s Christian ethos, girls are expected to:
• Be respectful of the views of others
• Be aware that people are different individuals and should be treated respectfully regardless of religion, culture, disability, gender or physical appearance
• Demonstrate honesty and integrity in dealing with others
• Make a positive contribution to the wider community
The school expects the cooperation of parents and girls in accepting certain regulations.  These are fundamental to the well-being of all girls in the school.  They are based on courtesy and consideration for others, as well as instilling a sense of responsibility in the girls.

Parents are reminded that, by accepting a place at Meriden for their daughter, they are agreeing to support the school’s expectations.

Sanctions will follow if students fail to meet required expectations.

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UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS

The correct wearing of a school uniform assists in the creation of the school’s identity and spirit within the wider community.  Students are required to maintain high standards of appearance and general neatness both inside and outside the school.

Full School uniform should be worn throughout the school year and on special occasions such as the Celebration of Excellence and the Carol Service.  Summer uniform is usually worn throughout the Spring and Summer Terms, winter uniform is usually worn throughout Autumn and Winter Terms.

Full school uniform must be worn while at school and while journeying to and from school.  PE and Sports uniform must be worn at weekend sport activities associated with the school.  The school jumper or vest may only be worn to and from school if it is beneath the blazer.  While in school uniform outside the school, no student should be seen eating food of any kind except when seated in a restaurant or café.

Specific Uniform Details
All items of uniform must be clearly named.  All items, apart from footwear, must be purchased from the Uniform Store.

Shoes
Black lace-up school shoes are to be worn.  Shoes should not have yellow stitching, a centre seam or thickened heels or soles.  Shoes with buckles are not permitted.

Socks
In winter, long, navy socks or navy stockings are to be worn.  In summer, girls should wear short white socks that fold down to 3cm above the ankle.

Hair/Jewellery
Long hair should be tied back tidily or plaited and tied with regulation ribbons/clips. (Navy ribbon Kindergarten – Year 10.  White or navy ribbon Years 11 and 12.  Brown clips only.)  Hair should be of a natural colour.  Make-up is not to be worn by girls in school uniform.  Nails must be short and without coloured polish. 

No jewellery is permitted except one plain gold or silver stud or sleeper per earlobe.

Jumper/Vest
The school jumper or vest must not be worn as an outer garment outside school grounds.  In cold weather, they may be worn under a blazer.  Year 12 girls may wear school jerseys on Fridays from Autumn Term.

Overcoat
Only coats purchased from the Uniform Store are to be worn.  The overcoat does not replace the blazer.

Scarf
This is optional but only plain navy scarves are acceptable.

Hats
The hat is to be worn to and from school and when sitting in the sun during the day.

Bags
Girls are to carry their belongings and books in the regulation Meriden bag (available from the Uniform Store).  Bags must be stored neatly in lockers during the day.

Any girl not in regulation uniform is not allowed to leave the school with any group excursion or when representing the school.

The prescribed uniform is to be worn for Sport and for Physical Education lessons.  No girl may participate in team practices or tennis lessons unless she is correctly attired.  No girl may be on tennis courts in school shoes.

As Chapel Services and Assemblies are formal occasions, girls are to wear the normal daily uniform without scarves rather than the PE uniform.

Length of Uniform
This is a matter of commonsense and requirements may vary from girl to girl.  Parents are asked to monitor these matters and make adjustments if necessary.  Both the summer dress and the winter skirt are to be worn below the knee to fall correctly.

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PRIVACY POLICY AND PROCEDURES

This statement outlines Meriden’s use and management of the personal information provided to, or collected by it.  The School is bound by the National Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act.

The Nature of Personal Information

The type of information Meriden collects and holds includes (but is not limited to) personal information, including sensitive information, about:
• Students and parents and/or guardians ('parents') before, during and after the course of a student's enrolment at the School
• Job applicants - staff members, volunteers and contractors
• Other people who come into contact with the School

Personal Information
Meriden will generally collect personal information about an individual by way of forms filled out by parents or students, face-to-face meetings and interviews, and telephone calls. On occasions, people other than parents and students provide personal information.

Audio visual records of events are captured by a School-endorsed videographer and/or photographer and may be used for School displays, in School publications or on the School web site.  Parents may request exemption from this process for their individual child, in writing, through their Head of School.

In some circumstances, Meriden may be provided with personal information about an individual from a third party, for example a report provided by a medical professional or a reference from another school.

The School will use personal information it collects for the primary purpose for which it is collected, and for other purposes that are reasonably related to the primary purpose.

Photography by Parents or Students
Apart from concerts, assemblies and special events, approval must be obtained prior to taking any photographs, recordings or videos around the School.  At special events, parents are asked to photograph their own children and should never distribute, store or display photographs of others’ children, in either electronic or printed form, without their express permission. Similarly School emblems or icons should not be used without the express permission of the Head of School.

Notwithstanding, parents need to be mindful that heir children may be photographed by other parents or visitors at Meriden School events or events at other Schools or venues.

Students may only take photographs at school with the permission of their Head of School.

Students and Parents
In relation to personal information of students and parents, Meriden's primary purpose of collection is to enable the School to provide schooling for the student.  This includes matters such as:
• Keeping parents informed about matters related to their child's schooling, through correspondence, newsletters and magazines
• Day-to-day administration
• Looking after the student's educational, social and medical wellbeing
• Seeking donations and marketing for the School
• Maintaining an historical record
• Satisfying the School's legal obligations and allowing the School to discharge its duty of care.

In some cases, where the School requests personal information about a student or parent, if the information requested is not obtained, the School may not be able to enrol or continue the enrolment of the student.

Job Applicants, Staff Members and Contractors
In relation to personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors, Meriden's primary purpose of collection is to assess and, if successful, to engage the applicant, staff member or contractor. The purposes for which the School uses personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors include:
• Administering the individual's employment or contract
• Insurance purposes
• Seeking funds and marketing for the School
• Satisfying the School's legal obligations, for example, in relation to child protection legislation.

Volunteers
Meriden also obtains personal information about volunteers who assist the School in its functions or conduct associated activities, such as alumni associations, to enable the School and the volunteers to work together and to satisfy the School's legal obligations (eg under child protection laws).

Exception in Relation to Employee Records
Under the Privacy Act, the National Privacy Principles do not apply to an employee’s record. As a result, this Privacy Guideline does not apply to Meriden's treatment of an employee record, where the treatment is directly related to a current or former employment relationship between the School and employee.

Marketing and Fundraising
Meriden views marketing and fundraising as vital aspects of Meriden’s continuance as a quality learning environment in which both students and staff thrive. Personal information held by the School may be disclosed to an organisation that assists in the School's fundraising, for example, the School's Foundation or alumni organisation. Parents, staff, contractors and other members of the wider School community may, from time to time, receive fundraising information. School publications, such as newsletters and magazines which include personal information and audio visual material may be used for marketing purposes.

The Disclosure of Personal Information
Meriden may disclose personal information, including sensitive information, held about an individual to:
• Another school
• Government departments
• Medical practitioners
• People providing services to the School, including specialist visiting teachers and sports coaches
• Recipients of School publications, such as newsletters and magazines
• Anyone to whom the School is authorised to disclose information

Meriden will not send personal information about an individual outside Australia without obtaining the consent of the individual (in some cases this consent will be implied).

Information Exchange
In accordance with current legislative requirements, information regarding matters related to student / child safety, welfare or wellbeing, may be shared between appropriate prescribed bodies (Government and non-government) involved in the care of  children or young people. This information may pertain for example, to current or past employees or students of the School.

Sensitive Information
In referring to 'sensitive information', Meriden means: information relating to a person's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion, trade union or other professional or trade association membership, sexual preferences, criminal record, and health information. Sensitive information will be used and disclosed only for the purpose for which it was provided or a directly related secondary purpose, unless agreed otherwise, or if the use or disclosure of the sensitive information is allowed by law. 

Management and Security of Personal Information
Meriden staff are required to respect the confidentiality of students' and parents' personal information and the privacy of individuals. The School has procedures to protect the personal information the School holds from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by use of various methods including locked storage of paper records and pass-worded access rights to computerised records.

Similarly it is expected that parents, students and other members of the School community will appropriately respect the privacy of staff members.

Updating Personal Information
Meriden endeavours to ensure that the personal information it holds is accurate, complete and up-to-date.  A person may seek to update their personal information held by the School by contacting the Principal’s Office. The National Privacy Principles require the School not to store personal information for longer than is necessary.

Checking Personal Information
Under the Commonwealth Privacy Act, an individual has the right to obtain access to any personal information which Meriden holds about them, and to advise the School of any perceived inaccuracy. There are some exceptions to this right set out in the Act.  Students will generally have access to their personal information through their parents, but older students may seek access themselves. Any requests to access any information must be made in writing to the Principal. The School may require verification of identity which may involve a fee.  If the information sought is extensive, the School will advise the likely cost in advance.

Access to the Personal Information of Students
Meriden respects every parent's right to make decisions concerning their child's education. Generally, the School will refer any requests for consent and notices in relation to the personal information of a student to the student's parents. The School will treat consent given by parents as consent given on behalf of the student, and notice to parents will act as notice given to the student.

Parents may seek access to personal information held by Meriden about them or their child by contacting the Principal. However, there will be occasions when access is denied. These would include occasions where release of the information would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others, or where the information may result in a breach of the School's duty of care to the student.

Meriden may, at its discretion, on the request of a student, grant that student access to information held by the School about them, or allow a student to give or withhold consent to the use of their personal information, independently of their parents. This would normally be done only when the maturity of the student and/or the students' personal circumstances so warranted this course of action.

Enquiries
Further information about the way the School manages the personal information it holds, may be obtained from the Principal's office.

(Policy reviewed January 2010)